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Redefining Community Policing? – Bessarabia

June 10, 2017

It is more than two years since the Potemkin emergence of a “separatist Bessarabia” was first mentioned by the blog.

After a few arrests, some of those detained later being involved/incorporated within “prisoner swaps” relating to the occupied Donbas, and Russia funded separatism (perhaps temporarily) falling down the active measures and reactive control agenda in Moscow, the southwest of Odessa Oblast returned to the usual, occasional and measured ethnic stirring by politicians such as Anton Kisse to seek concessions and/or leverage within the Verkhovna Rada.

The management of such ethnic pot stirring for political gain, Mr Kisse had long mastered before Russia illegally annexed Crimea and began a kinetic war in the Ukrainian east (as well as diplomatic, cultural, societal and economic fronts).

The Saakashvili concept of creating a usable (not pothole ridden) major highway from Odessa to Reni (and onward into the EU) running deep in the heart of Mr Kisse’s fiefdom served, temporarily, to tamper any politically expedient ethnic pot stirring – for new/refurbished infrastructure and funding (that may or may not be plundered one way or another) has a way of being far more attractive than politically expedient ethnic pot stirring to further immediate vested interests.

However, such placation does not last forever – particularly when a major infrastructure and funding matter progresses rather slowly.

Mr Kisse’s immediate interests (which may not be entirely in the best interests of Ukraine) nevertheless have to be defended against interfering government institutions.

As one of the 5 “official” founders of Nash Krai, there is a political balancing act of perceived independence viz a viz Presidential Administration/Bankova subservience – it was a political party created by the Bankova deliberately to split the Opposition Block and when necessary toe the Presidential line after all.

The problem being politics evolve, and the Bankova “whip” occasionally now struggles with Nash Krai.  It is often far easier to elicit votes from “Will of the People” and “Revival” which are simply self-serving votes for hire.

2017 has seen Mr Kisse return more frequently to his past politically expedient tool of stirring the Bulgar ethnic pot for his own ends.

It has also seen the Kremlin return to the issue stirring (or simply imitating – again) of ethnic separatism as witnessed in April in Odessa.

The 18th May saw the continued refusal of the Belgorod-Dniester City Council to grant permission for the construction of a Ukrainian Orthodox, Kyiv Patriarchate church again.  The Moscow Patriarchate indeed has a place of worship in Belgorod-Dniester.  This construction issue has dragged on and on for more than a year.  When asked for answers Anton Kisse’s fellow ethnic Bulgar and Nash Krai representative Vasily Kaschi stated he would not vote for a UOC KP church due to his ethnicity.

The 18th May entry concluded – “In the meantime local, regional and national representatives will have to chose between continuing to repress the UOC KP (this time in Belgorod-Dniester) or taking on a Bankova and Verkhovna Rada that are officially very much supportive of, and lobbying for, autocephaly for the Kyiv Patriachate within Orthodoxy if for no other reason to further sever more ties with Russia – perceived national security issues equal too or greater than VK and Odnoklassniki – or not.

It is a “no right answer” question reminiscent of – Which is the greater national security threat?  A physical network such as the infiltrated UOC MP Church, or a virtual network on a social media platform?  Discuss.”

Since then it has become clear that the “Bankova management” of Nash Krai has moved from Mr Kovalchuk to the far more forceful/persuasive/coercive Ihor Kononenko – and Mr Kisse is apparently in Mr Kononenko’s arc of fire.  (A criminal case is rumoured to have been opened against Mr Kisse since Mr Kononenko assumed the Bankova “whip”.)

The aforementioned paragraph of the 18th May pondering which way the local government would go, and inferring a fight with both the Bankova and Verkhovna Rada would be unwise, may no longer be a choice they will be offered.

Aside from the presidential leg breaker, Mr Kononenko, being assigned “management” of Nash Krai, there now appears to be a new form of “community policing” being “piloted” in Belgorod.

A reader may perhaps define community policing as “the system of allocating police officers to particular areas so that they become familiar with the local inhabitants.” – or similar.

Scholars may prefer “Community policing is a philosophy of full service personalised policing, where the same officer patrols and works in the same area on a permanent basis, from a decentralized place, working in a proactive partnership with citizens to identify and solve problems.” —Bertus Ferreira

Few perhaps would define community policing by the deploying the National Guard with the National Police together with increased coordination with the Border Guard.

Many readers would perhaps consider that a national security operation rather than community policing as Interior Minister Arsen Avakov describes this new “pilot project” – “…….this is a classic example of the application of the principle of “Community Policing”.  In this case, it is in the effective interaction with the military, police, to conduct joint events, such as protection of public order and security, as well as on preventive patrols among population.”

Far from most definitions of “classic community policing” a reader may have formed.

Other explanations offered at the launch of this “community policing pilot project” were that – “the base of the joint deployment of police officers and guards in the pilot project, and the region for its launch, was not chosen by chance, as the situation with an increase in robberies in Bessarabia was worrisome to both Natspolitsii and the Ministry of Interior” – S. Knyazev

A reader may therefore be left with the belief that the National Police in Belgorod cannot cope with increased robberies and burglaries and therefore rather than redeploy police resources temporarily, the national guard will somehow assume civilian policing powers, notwithstanding legislative and procedural knowledge, to seamlessly assist.

However, the Police Chief of the Odessa region, Dmitry Golovin, said that “within the region there is an issue of latent separatism, so law enforcement officers must make an effort to control the situation” – So it is a multi-agency national security operation and not a “classic” community policing pilot project as Interior Minister Avakov proclaimed?

Then again, Commander of 3012 Southern Territorial Administration of the National Guard Yuri Aller stated that he was “sure that the police, border guards and national guard in the Belgorod region would adequately cope with the main task – ensuring the safety of civilians.”

So this is a preemptive and proactive public disorder operation?  If so, for how long?  Until Anton Kisse buckles under the pressure of Ihor Kononenko?  Until the UOC KP gets its place of worship?  Both?  Is it based upon intelligence that Russia intends to try and stir the ethnic Bulgar pot in Bessarabia again?  Something else?

Nevertheless, it appears that under the “classic community policing pilot project” for which Belgorod has been specifically identified by The Bankova, the “classic” definition of community policing now includes the National Border Service (due to location) and the National Guard – and could equally be described as a national security operation.

It may not quite be Operation BANNER, but it may not quite be “classic community policing” either.

Nevertheless, an interesting development.

A reader may ponder where such a “pilot project” will be rolled out next?

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